Why Do Cats Carry Your Clothes Around? Kitty Clothing Thieves, Explained

My cat keeps carrying my clothes around my home, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.  I wake up and find clothes scattered in the oddest places, including the cat water bowl! Why do cats do this?

While it is incredibly cute to see them carrying clothes around in their mouth, it can also pose certain safety risks.  I’ll explain why your cat does this, and will also tell you why your cat carrying clothes can be dangerous – and what you should do about it.

why do cats carry around clothes and laundry

Why Does My Cat Carry Clothes Around the House?

In a nutshell, cats are weird little creatures.  They do the silliest things for seemingly no reason, though most of their antics do have a motive – even if it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.  Such as scattering your socks all over the place, leaving you with a nice mess to clean when you wake up in the morning.  If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t find the matching sock in a pair, now you do!

There are many reasons that a cat might carry belongings around, and female cats seem to do this the most – so it might be related to nesting behavior, whether your cat is spayed or not. Your cat might simply like the feeling of carrying something around, or it may be sensory related.  As in, your cat might like the feeling of certain textures in her mouth.

It could also just be a form of play, and something your cat is doing to simply pass the time.  Although you can try giving your cat more toys, in my own personal experience, they still prefer to drag clothes around if they can find them – even if they have plenty of toys at their disposal!

Is it Safe for Your Cat to Carry Clothes Around?

Although your cat clearly enjoys dragging clothes around, it isn’t exactly the safest pastime.  If your cat likes playing with clothes, they most likely also like all of the little strings and buttons that are often also attached – and strings aren’t always a good thing to have around cats. 

First and foremost, the best thing you can do to ensure your cat’s safety is to limit the clothing they’re able to access.  Keep your laundry safely put away, your dryer door shut (that’s another story all in itself), and your closet doors closed.  Things like this can become a kitty addiction, so you need to cut off their supply!

But, not all is lost.  You can still leave safer clothing items like towels nearby if you want your cat to have at least a little fun.  Part of the reason they may carry those items around is simply because it has your scent, and they want to be near you. Gosh knows we wouldn’t want to take that way.

Does your own cat enjoy carrying things around?  Tell us about it in the comments below!


  1. Ok so my cat Muffy likes to carry off ALL KINDS of clothes and just leaves them in a pile in the kitchen. She meows loudly as she stands over them while dragging them away to her clothing pile. Im not sure if its because shes lost multiple litters, or something related to or completely different. I hope its not too serious….

    • My cat carries my granddaughters clothes all around the house every day and meows very loudly. Drives me crazy but is is funny. I didnt realize a lot of cats do this. She is a rescue cat and we’ve had her for about 5 or 6 years now. She started this a few years ago.

    • I think you might be on to something with that. Our Tortie loves to grab clothes when nobody is watching her, and meows loudly while doing it. A long time ago she lost a litter, and we got her spayed shortly after. It was only after that when she started this behavior. My wife immediately associated it with nesting/maternal behavior, and to this day refers to clothing articles as “clothes babies” when strewn about the house.

  2. I’m trying to wrap my brain around this one but it’s not working. I adopted Bella at about 6 weeks old; she is also spayed and is now nearing 1 1/2 yrs. Old. At first she just learned how to open my drawers and would pull my clothes out. About a month ago she started dragging my sweaters up or down the stairs. If she gets them upstairs she will then put them under the bed. I have tried to video this antic of hers but she caught me. I have a hard time believing that she has the strength to drag my heavy sweaters but she does it. I just wish that someone could tell me why. It is like laughing at a child for doing something but not wanting them to see you laughing.

  3. My kitty Tesla is barely a 20 months old and she drags towels, socks, My wife’s bras, and my tee shirts…I’m guessing it’s nesting but we had a 10 yo who passed 5 months back who dragged my bowling bag among other strange items!

  4. I cannot understand why but my car will go to my bathroom and carry out my toothpaste, lotion bottles, and then go to my closet and bring out tools, plastic bags full of stuff. I’ve gotten a couple pics of her bringing them out. She’ll just bring them out and drop them in the kitchen or living room. I wish I knew why. It’s so funny.

  5. My male cat Caesar who is 10 years old started dragging clothes around the house about 3 years ago. Initially I thought it was cute and funny but not anymore. He will drag my clothes, my kids clothes and heavy blankets around the house yowling. Doesn’t matter day or night. He knows how to open closets. He has broken hangers from trying to yank clothes off of them. I got rods to block the closet from opening. Didn’t help. 2 or 3 AM I wake up from him scratching and pushing his body again the closet doors. This is not a once in a while thing, it’s happening quite often now day or night. If there is nothing to carry around in his mouth he will walk around yowling with a toy in his mouth. My kids and I are becoming sleep deprived and I just don’t know how to stop this behavior of his. ?

  6. My cat, Dora, started off with the odd sock here and there. Then it escalated to underwear, t-shirts, and pyjama bottoms. Somehow, she even jumped up onto my bed with a pair of jeans!

    She also has a deep, distinct meow whenever she’s carrying an article of clothing.

    Rather than throwing out some worn socks, and underwear that had lost its elasticity, I decided to leave them laying around for her to use as “security blankets.”

    P.S. my other cat, Padfoot, has very recently joined in, and carries my shoes from room to room. (Yes, they’re both named after Harry Potter characters. Lol)

  7. My lil 6month old mainecoon cross will fetch my plush housecoat tie from any where in my house. She drags it upstairs and always deposits it in the middle of the living room floor. If I move it she just moves it back lol.

  8. My male cat does this and has been doing it since he was a kitten (he’s now 14.) Started with my son’s socks and sweaters when he would come home from college, but since then, it’s been my pajamas. And he has this certain cry while dragging them. It’s very odd.

  9. My cat Zeus, I have had him sense he was 2 weeks old and have bottle fed him. I also have his sister that I bottle fed as well they are both orange tabby’s. He carries many different things around and meows while doing so. He likes to carry Bathing suits around that’s his favorite, it doesn’t matter who’s mine or any of my kids, stuffed animals, sports bras and shorts (like pj shorts) I am sure there are a few other things that I am forgetting to mention. It doesn’t matter who any of these items belong to he always brings them to my bedroom and leaves them in the middle of my floor and then sits at the top of the stairs and meows. He has also even figured out how to open my daughters dresser drawer and take out whatever he likes and also brings that to my bedroom. He is very vocal and talks to me all the time he also loves when I carry him around the house on my shoulders mind you he’s a 15lb cat and roughly about 2yrs old. Well there’s my story of my wonderful cat Zeus.

  10. Our cat is a 3 yo male stray we adopted from a shelter. He drags any item of my clothing that has been set on the bed and places it with his toys in the living room. He goes thru the laundry basket to find my husband’s socks or shorts and does the same thing. Once the items are with his toys he might chew on them for a few minutes but usually just leaves them with his toys. At night he frequently brings one of his toys to our bed. He is a silly boy. ?

  11. I adopted my male tabby when he was 7 months old. He liokes to drag stuff up the basement stairs and put them in various places. He tried to drag an afghan up the stairs one time but only got it half way up the stairs. It’s pretty funny to see because some of the items are bigger than he is but he seems to like the challange.

  12. So crazy. Leonard who is a 5 yr old male fixed cat is vocal and I will find my grandsons sleepers in the hallway or the top of the stairs. We have other cats,but I’ve caught him in the act. When we rescued Leonard he was a “sucker” ,so my pinky or ear lobes,even my lip haha. I always wondered why he’d choose my 1 yr old grandsons pj’s. He doesn’t live here but he’s got a bedroom. Oh Leonard ?‍♀️♥️

  13. My sister’s cat is a klepto and thoroughly enjoys spending her night stealing everything in my room that is not nailed down – my socks, my pants, my kitten’s collar, facemasks, etc – and depositing it all in front of my sister’s bedroom door. I am convinced she would take the blankets off the couch if she could.


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